Skip to Main Content

Copyright: The Law and Guidelines


Faculty and staff of the university enjoy many privileges due to exceptions in copyright law that allow us to clip, scan, quote, copy and show or display copyrighted works in the classroom and online for educational purposes. It is important to understand what these exceptions are in order to be compliant with the law. 

Faculty Copyrights

Per SUNY’s copyright policy, faculty at the University at Albany, which is a state operated campus, own the copyright for faculty works produced in the scope of their employment, which includes materials produced for classroom teaching.  A 2007 Counsel Memo clarifies that this same principle also applies to materials produced for distance education and online teaching The following is excerpted from SUNY’s Copyright website:

"With respect to faculty materials used on the web for instruction, under the current SUNY policy, copyright ownership is treated no differently than faculty materials produced for the classroom. That is, faculty own the copyright under the academic work-for-hire exception embedded in SUNY’s copyright policy. Alternatively, SUNY and faculty may enter into work-for-hire written agreements relating to materials produced for on-line use in which the parties may agree to vest copyright in either SUNY or the faculty and to provide for related licenses."

Those who wish to freely share their course materials, including lecture notes, syllabi, study guides, tests and quizzes, bibliographies, visual aids, images, diagrams, slides, multimedia presentations, web-ready content or educational software can apply a Creative Commons License to their work.

Faculty can add a statement to their syllabi or any other part of their course materials reminding students, and others, that their work is protected under U.S. Copyright Law. Below are some samples that you can use as a starting point.